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Dean Blandino: We’ve got to keep coaches off the field


NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino says the officials did the right thing when they flagged 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh for running on the field during last week’s playoff game in Carolina.

In an officiating video distributed to the media, Blandino showed Harbaugh coming on the field late in the first half and addressed the issue.

“We’ve got to make sure that coaches can’t come on the field after the play, during the play like this to get the attention of an official,” Blandino said. “They’ve got to stay on the sideline. So we penalized him 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.”

Blandino added that unless a coach directly interferes with a play, the penalty for running on the field is treated as if it occurred after the play.

“An unsportsmanlike conduct foul like this, even if the coach is flagged during the play, for being on the field during the play, that foul is enforced as a dead-ball foul,” Blandino said. “So unless he actually interfered with the play — you could potentially have a palpably unfair act, the referee could award a score, take away a score, do whatever he feels equitable — but if that foul is just a normal unsportsmanlike conduct for being on the field, and he didn’t interfere with the play, that foul is always enforced as a dead-ball foul. Whatever happened on the play counts, and then the 15-yard penalty is enforced afterward.”

Coaches are rarely flagged for being on the field, as officials usually give them plenty of leeway. But after Mike Tomlin was fined and stripped of a draft pick, and Harbaugh was penalized 15 yards, Blandino would hope that coaches get the message that they have to stay off the field.

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28 Responses to “Dean Blandino: We’ve got to keep coaches off the field”
  1. ianwetpantscom says: Jan 19, 2014 8:02 AM

    just call it the “Mike Tomlin” rule.

  2. whydoupost says: Jan 19, 2014 8:06 AM

    He should go by Dean-o…Dean-o Blandino! Yeah, I like that better.

    Ok, next topic….

  3. baltimorons says: Jan 19, 2014 8:08 AM

    Harbaugh is such a loser.

  4. dynastyposeiden says: Jan 19, 2014 8:16 AM

    that is a real concern…. what / with all the referee incompetence they are worried about coaches on the field
    and to this date pretty sure the steelers have not been fined a draft pick and the mere suggestion is further proof of the league’s vendetta against the steelers because they did not ratify the labor deal & repeatedly have spoken out against the league office for the ridiculous fines levied on the steelers in the past.

  5. joetoronto says: Jan 19, 2014 8:18 AM

    Harbaugh and Carroll are always on the field, they should lock them up.

  6. bennyb82 says: Jan 19, 2014 8:22 AM

    Hmm Harbaugh and a shock collar would be just as entertaining as the game.

  7. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 19, 2014 8:24 AM

    About time they penalized his endless whining. What was really funny was the thing he was pissed about got reversed anyway.

  8. getyourownname says: Jan 19, 2014 8:25 AM

    If they want coaches to take this seriously in last minute of a game, they need to think about remedy other than enforcing it as post play penalty. What risk was Harbaugh facing?

  9. golforepar says: Jan 19, 2014 8:28 AM

    As far and as often as Harbaugh goes on the field, the league needs to warn and then penalize him. Allowing this to continue every game is a joke!

  10. joedirte says: Jan 19, 2014 8:33 AM

    Good. these refs need to actually enforce the rules. Some of these coaches think they are above the game and some like harbaugh think they are still playing and the refs need to keep these guys in check

  11. pabrownsfan says: Jan 19, 2014 9:52 AM

    At least he did not pull a Woody Hayes and light someone up.

  12. hess97 says: Jan 19, 2014 10:12 AM

    Harbaugh knowingly and willingly took the penalty so that the play clock would be stopped. He wanted upstairs to have enough time to correct a horrible call.

  13. Patskrieg dot com says: Jan 19, 2014 10:14 AM

    Let’s take bets. Which of today’s conference championships will be spoiled by an over zealous ref tossing a flag on a key play because a coach had a shoelace over the line?

  14. horsepedlr says: Jan 19, 2014 10:27 AM

    it’s called the harbaugh/carrol rule for a reason.

  15. beastmode5150 says: Jan 19, 2014 10:30 AM


  16. fbjunkiedc says: Jan 19, 2014 10:31 AM

    After watching the game last week and seeing Harbaugh run out into the field, moment’s later the commentators mentioned he wore football cleats. Really?! The penalty on him was not enough, the clock only have 5 sec remaining and meant a harmless penalty on a meaningless kickoff. Those penalties need to be more severe.

  17. dirtydrew says: Jan 19, 2014 10:53 AM

    Well, when your officials blow an obvious call, I guess that’s ok. The call that prompted Harbaugh to rush the field was an obvious td in a playoff game that was blown. It was then reviewed and corrected. Would that happen if Harbaugh did not act out? No. I mean, we have seen these guys blow the coin flip. Time for full time officials.

  18. tomthebombtracy says: Jan 19, 2014 10:56 AM

    Steelers have and will not lose a draft pick. Not after it did not affect the Ravens status at season’s end and after being twice jobbed out of a playoff spot by zebras in San Diego-KC closer.

  19. cornerstone2001 says: Jan 19, 2014 11:37 AM

    They need to call games fairly and stop helping teams that play the 49ers

  20. dirtdawg54 says: Jan 19, 2014 12:18 PM

    This is simple. Throw the flag every time the coach even partially steps into the field of play while a play is being run. Throw the flag when they fully step into the field of play after a play is run (such as the Harbaugh case).

    Once your coach gets three flags you fine the team and dock them a draft choice. The fines and draft penalty increase with each flag thrown.

    Problem solved.

  21. tbtrojan says: Jan 19, 2014 12:49 PM

    Time to start throwing the flag every time a coach or player not involved in the play steps on the white side line let alone the field.
    First offense is a 15 yard penalty, do it again and you get ejected, they’d soon learn.

  22. blackcatnfl says: Jan 19, 2014 1:08 PM

    Fine Harbaugh $100,000 and then talk to me.

  23. akboot says: Jan 19, 2014 1:14 PM

    How about keeping blind referees off the field also.

  24. scoobies05 says: Jan 19, 2014 1:39 PM

    the steelers didnt miss the playoffs because of poor officiating in the kc/sd game they missed the playoffs because they werent good enough. if they were good enough the kc/sd game wouldnt have mattered

  25. 1phd says: Jan 19, 2014 1:56 PM

    Forgive the clueless morons here that know not what they comment about. To set the record straight, Harbaugh was complaining that the clock was ticking down when it should have stopped after the refs blew the call, NOT that they blew the TD call. He wanted the proper amount of time left to run at least two more plays if possible in the event they hadn’t blown the call and it wasn’t at TD. He was trying to point that out to the officials.

  26. dragonfly99 says: Jan 19, 2014 2:02 PM

    Stop talking about doing it and start taking some action!

  27. win1soon says: Jan 19, 2014 2:11 PM

    How bout the NFL and thier refs focus on getting the calls on the field right, maybe in turn that would eliminate coaches going on the filed to dispute blown calls!

  28. melikefootball says: Jan 19, 2014 9:58 PM

    Hairbaugh lives on the field and cries about every play, never gets fined.

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